April 17, 2022 – Acts 13
Lesson Date: April 17, 2022 (Easter)
Focal Scripture Passage: Acts 13:15-39; 17:30; 1 John 3:23
AIM: To lead students to discover the importance of Jesus’ resurrection and two very important commands God has given us, and to encourage any who have never obeyed those commands to do so today.
Before class: Write the words “Command” and “Request” on the marker board or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Welcome everyone and wish them, “Happy Easter,” or “Happy Resurrection Sunday.”
Direct the students’ attention to the two words written on the board. Ask them what the word “Request” means (to ask someone to do something). Ask one of the students to please get up and close the door. Tell the class that was an example of a request. We make requests of one another all the time. Requests are often prefaced by the word “please” or a question such as “would you mind to…?”
Ask the students what the word “Command” means (to order someone to do something). Tell the class if they say “sit” or “come” to a dog, that is an example of a command. Ask if anyone present ever served in the military. Stress that members of the military are subject to orders and commands. Officers don’t have to ask enlisted persons to do things with words like, “would you please.” Instead, they can give subordinates orders that must be obeyed.
Tell the class today is Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In addition to studying the facts of the resurrection, we will also discover two very specific commands God has given all of us. Tell them our lesson today is titled, Will You Obey God?
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Review and Context.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (guidelines for worship).
- Tell the class we are stepping away from our study of Deuteronomy for an Easter lesson.
- Ask everyone to turn to Acts 13.
- Explain that Paul and Barnabas were on their First Missionary Journey through the modern-day region of central Turkey.
- While in the city of Antioch of Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath Day.
- Review of Israel’s History from Egypt to David.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:15-16.
- Ask: “What did the rulers of the synagogue invite Paul and Barnabas to do?” (address the group).
- Explain the following:
- This was not unusual in ancient synagogue worship.
- Each week they would read from the Law and the prophets, after which someone spoke words of exhortation.
- Any adult man could speak in the synagogue (remember that Jesus spoke in His hometown synagogue in Nazareth).
- It was not uncommon to invite travelers to share a word in the synagogue.
- These Jews in Asia were keenly interested to hear Jews who had come from Israel.
- Read Acts 13:17-22.
- Tell the class Paul reminded the Jews of things God did for Israel in their early history.
- Ask: “What historical events did Paul name?” (the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, Israel settling in Canaan, the rule of the judges, King Saul, and King David).
- Stress the fact that all of these were things God did for Israel.
- Ask: “What did God say about David?” (he was a man after His own heart who would fulfill all His will).
- Tell the class Paul certainly had the Jews’ attention; they were probably saying “amen” while he spoke these words.
- Summarize: Paul reviewed God’s many blessings upon Israel from the time He brought them out of Egypt to the rule of King David.
- God Raised Up a Savior from David’s Line: Jesus.
- Tell the class that after rehearsing Israel’s history, Paul brought some new information to these Jews.
- Ask them to listen for that news as you read Acts 13:23.
- Ask: “What new revelation did Paul announce?” (God had raised up a Savior from the descendants of King David: Jesus Christ).
- Tell the class that next Paul talked about the ministry of John the Baptist.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:24-26.
- Ask: “According to verse 26, what word did Paul bring to these Jews in Asia?” (“the word of this salvation” – that salvation is available through Jesus Christ).
- Explain the following:
- This is very important information.
- The story of Jesus is not just about a nice man who healed the sick and told us to love one another.
- The story of Jesus is the message of salvation.
- Without Jesus Christ there is no salvation.
- The message of Jesus is the only true message of salvation.
- Summarize: Paul told the Jews in Antioch that God had raised up from David’s line a Savior, Jesus Christ.
- Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection.
- Explain that next Paul told his audience in the synagogue the facts that we celebrate at Easter, the very essence of the Gospel: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:27-30.
- Explain the following:
- In verse 27, Paul said the Jews in Jerusalem did not recognize Jesus as their Messiah.
- They did not understand the prophecies concerning the promised Messiah, in spite of the fact they read these prophecies in their synagogues every Sabbath.
- Since they did not understand the prophecies or recognize Jesus as the Messiah, they actually fulfilled those prophecies by condemning Him to death.
- Ask: “According to verse 28, was Jesus guilty of any crime?” (no).
- Tell the students despite Jesus’ innocence, the Jewish religious leaders convinced Pilate to have Him crucified.
- Ask: “According to verse 29, what was done with Jesus’ body after He died on the cross?” (it was laid in a tomb).
- Ask: “According to verse 30, what did God do on the first Easter Sunday?” (raised Jesus Christ from the dead).
- Explain that these verses summarize the message of the Gospel: Jesus died, He was buried, and He rose again from the dead (see 1 Cor. 15:3-4).
- Tell the students that next Paul proved the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, both by eyewitness testimony and with Old Testament quotations.
- Read Acts 13:31-37.
- Ask: “According to verse 31, how do we know Jesus actually rose from the dead?” (He was seen by many witnesses over a period of many days).
- Explain the following:
- In verse 32 Paul told his listeners Good News: God had fulfilled in their day the promises He made centuries earlier to their fathers.
- In verses 33-35 Paul quoted the following Old Testament scriptures: Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 55:3; and Psalm 16:10.
- Remind the class that all the Jews loved and revered King David, the one who wrote those messianic Psalms.
- In verses 36-37 Paul drew a stark contrast between David and Jesus Christ.
- Ask: “What was that contrast?” (David’s body was buried and decayed away to nothing in the grave, but Jesus Christ did not experience decay or corruption because He arose from the dead.
- Remind the class that Paul began his speech by retelling the history of Israel up through the reign of her most respected ruler, King David; in the verses we have just read Paul told the Jews that Jesus was more important than David.
- Summarize: Paul told his listeners that Jesus Christ surpassed King David by rising from the dead, never to experience decay and corruption.
- The Importance of Jesus’ Resurrection.
- Explain that next Paul told his listeners in the synagogue some facts that emphasized the importance of Jesus’ resurrection.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:38-39.
- Ask: “According to verse 38, what can we receive through Jesus Christ?” (forgiveness of our sins).
- Stress the fact that this was not available through David; in fact, David was a sinner. The only way anyone can have their sins forgiven is through Jesus Christ.
- Ask: “According to verse 39, what happens to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ?” (they are justified: made pure and right with God, just as if they had never sinned).
- Explain the following:
- Paul stressed the fact that the Law of Moses could not justify anyone.
- No one can have eternal life or go to heaven without being justified.
- Such justification (salvation) is only available through Jesus Christ.
- That’s why Paul said in verse 26 that he was bringing to those Jews the message of salvation.
- This is the importance of Jesus’ resurrection: if He couldn’t save Himself from death, He couldn’t save anyone else from hell.
- Summarize: Paul told the Jews that salvation in only available through Jesus Christ. His resurrection proved that He is the Savior.
- Two Very Important Commands.
- Remind the students that you opened the lesson talking about requests and commands. In these final minutes of class, we are going to look at two commands. Ask everyone to turn to Acts 17.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 17:30.
- Ask: “What does God command everyone to do?” (repent of their sins).
- Explain that repentance is not just admitting, confessing, or feeling bad about our sins; it is turning away from them.
- Tell the class everyone on earth is a sinner, so God commands everyone to repent. Ask the students to turn to 1 John.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:23.
- Tell the class there are two commands in this verse, but we are going to focus on the first.
- Ask: “What does God command us to do?” (believe in His Son Jesus Christ).
- Explain that the word believe here means more than merely believing that Jesus Christ existed; it means to place our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.
- Summarize: God commands everyone to repent of their sins and to believe in Jesus for salvation.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind everyone that today is Easter Sunday. We have learned this morning about the importance of the resurrection, which proves that Jesus Christ is the only way to be forgiven and to be justified before God. We have also learned about two very important commands God has given to everyone on planet earth.
Direct the students’ attention to the two words written on the board. Ask: “Are the things we read in Acts 17:30 and 1 John 3:23 requests or commands?” (they are commands). Ask: “Who has the right to give us a command?” (only those in positions of authority over us). Ask: “Does God have the authority to give us commands?” (yes).
Ask: “Have you obeyed God’s commands? Have you repented of (turned away from) your sins and believed (placed your faith) in Jesus Christ for salvation?”
Explain that if we obey God’s commands to repent and believe we will be saved and spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. If we stubbornly refuse to obey those simple commands, however, we will be eternally lost. Disobedience carries a very high price: the cost of disobeying God’s commands to repent and believe in Jesus is eternal torment in hell. Ask: “Do you want to pay that price?”
Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask: “Have you obeyed God’s commands to repent and believe in the risen Lord Jesus Christ? If not, would you like to do so today? Have you already obeyed those commands? If so, thank God right now for raising His Son from the dead so you could be saved.” Allow a moment for silent prayer, then voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Encourage any who have repented and placed their faith in Jesus today to make that public at the end of this morning’s worship service. Ask everyone to try to tell others this week the Good News about forgiveness and salvation available through Jesus Christ.
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